The deadline for using our NSW government Stay vouchers was fast approaching. But where could we go for just a night or two that was only a couple of hours away? Urunga or Yamba sprang to mind but sometimes, when you live near the beach, you long for something different.
‘Why not visit Glenrock Gardens ,’ my friend, Gerda suggested, as we sipped our cappuccinos, one morning back in September.
‘And where precisely are these gardens,’ I queried?
‘Near Tenterfield. They’re quite famous but they’ve been closed for a couple of years due to Covid.’
Tenterfield, I mused would fit the bill perfectly. Situated on the New England Tableland and surrounded by national parks, the town is only around three hours drive from Byron. Of course, we had been there before but not for a couple of years. So, decision made and Gerda and Richard on board, Tenterfield and the gardens awaited.
Accommodation was readily available and for the most part, very reasonably priced. We chose to redeem our vouchers at The Best Western, Sir Henry Parkes, Motel.
Situated on the main street, we were able to leave our cars at the motel and leisurely explore this character filled town on foot. An added bonus was The Bohemian Tearoom, which was across the road from the motel.
After lunch, we sauntered through some lovely antique shops and explored Rotary Park. Tentefield’s streetscape was lovely: well maintained heritage buildings enhanced by council landscaping – on both sides of the main street, beds of red poppies and pansies greeted visitors.
The evening was closing in and the Commercial Hotel was chosen for dinner. Refurbished and making the most of its art deco interior, this pub serves up market pub food. Although we didn’t book, (a mistake) they did make room (at very small table) for us. However, that was a minor inconvenience as we really enjoyed our pre-dinner drinks in front of a comforting fire happily ensconced on comfy leather sofas and the food was tasty.
The following morning was relatively fine. As the Gardens didn’t open til 10am, we had time for a visit to the Tenterfield Saddlery, made famous by the Peter Allen song. The little shop was full of interesting material from Australia’s colonial past including local links to Banjo Paterson and ‘Waltzing Matilda’.
However, the gardens awaited. They are located a few kilometres out of town and I would recommend using Google maps or something similar to make sure that you don’t inadvertently take a wrong turning. The gardens really are a green oasis in the Tablelands terrain.
The 10 acre gardens are designed around a series of small lakes or ponds which obviously provide much of the water for the garden. You can imagine our surprise when we found out that entry into the gardens are free!
From the main house and the newly opened barn, the gardens sweep down to the ponds in a series of terraces. The dry stone walls are quite stunning and each terrace leads to something new.
The garden is designed to feature different plants at different seasons. When we visited , it was blossom time.
There is so much to explore at the gardens. The owners have added a secret garden, a nursery and the Barn.
Amongst all the shades of green, pockets of colour gleam. More often in shades of blue and white.
Alas all good things come to an end and it was time to make our way down the mountain to Byron. On our way, we drove through Lismore which is still very much in recovery mode after the devastating floods earlier this year. Let’s hope that the current La Niña leaves us on the Northern Rivers well alone.